If you haven't heard of Pinterest then you probably aren't social media obsessed like me and let me tell you- it's huge. And like any social media platform online, I want to be able to use it to promote animal rights, veganism, and compassion.
Right now Pinterest has more than 10,000,000 members and is the 5th biggest social network on the web- bigger than Linkedin or Google+. Pinterest's clean bulletin board layout has meant huge traffic for many retailers and has allowed many other types of organizations to build their brand. Even I double the regular traffic of my blog when I pin blog photos to my Pinterest board.
But many animal activism organizations have yet to fully utilize Pinterest and I'm wondering why? People regularly post beautiful photos of architecture, cool products, and delicious food with minimal text but the likelihood that someone is going to re-print a graphic photo from a fur farm is slim to none.
So how can us activists take advantage of these 10 million+ eyeballs to bring attention to important causes? The solution is to do it subtly and passively- ultimately play by the rules.
Post Delicious Vegan Food
Promoting veganism is probably the easiest thing to do on Pinterest by posting photos of amazing food and recipes. Many people have a distorted image of what a vegan eats and getting your carnivore friends excited about Tempah or tofu is a fantastic way to promote vegan meals. As mentioned, I pin photos from all my blog posts and once visitors arrive at my blog they can find out more information on veganism and why I’m a vegan.
Post Photos of Cute Animals
One of the biggest challenges animal activists face is convincing carnivores that the cows and pigs they consume are just as lovable, intelligent, and beautiful as the dogs and cats they love dearly. I remember someone saying to me 'cows are gross', when clearly the only time they'd seen a cow was in slaughterhouse footage. You'll also notice that cute photos of dogs and cats are very popular on Pinterest. So I regularly post videos and images of lambs, cows, and pigs playing in an open environment. The people who view the videos have no idea that I'm trying to promote compassion and understanding but these images begin to undo previous misconceptions. My goal is that they remember the video of the cow playing with a ball in a field instead of being in a pen standing in their own manure the next time they are looking at a menu.
Organizations like Farm Sactuary or the SPCA could increase their brand awareness immensely by posting photos of their adorable rescue animals. That’s traffic that will likely end up on their website and could result in donations. Post from Animal Rights Pages Each picture is linked back to a webpage (unless the photo was uploaded from a camera or personal folder) so increase traffic to a particular campaign or story. In some cases Pinterest has increased traffic for retailers by over 200% so why not take advantage of this potential? As mentioned, cute animals are very popular on Pinterest so why not post a cute photo of a sheep that links to an article on museling? Or a video of a beagle that links back The Beagle Freedom Project?
Promote Vegan Products
Just like posting photos of food, posting images of great vegan products is a great way to promote compassion. I regularly pin Mat & Nat vegan bags; Pinners will see a cute bag and that I’ve noted is vegan. They might have just been looking for a cute bag but now the fact that it’s cruelty free is top of mind as well.
One of the biggest challenges activists face is apathy and people shutting down which is why we need to evolve and remember the medium we’re using. Ultimately Pinners are going to Pinterest for bright colourful pictures and to share fun links so animal activists need to remember that to be able to effectively use this tool. Activism comes in many different forms and Pinterest is a fantastic way for us to keep animal compassion top of mind.
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)